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Time dotCom to raise RM1b Sukuk to expand fibre footprint

Time dotCom Bhd plans to raise RM1bil under its proposed Sukuk programme 2015-2035. RAM Ratings said on Tuesday it had assigned a preliminary rating of AA3/Stable to the Islamic medium-term notes (MTN) programme. The rating reflects Time dotCom’s sound business position in the fixed-line space and the earnings diversity from its international bandwidth business as well as data centre. Nonetheless, the rating is constrained by Time dotCom’s small market share compared to its larger rival’s. RAM Ratings said the proceeds would be used to expand its fibre footprint, further develop its data operations, refinancing of credit facilities and working capital requirements.

Slowdown in sukuk issuance, yields come down

The strong demand for Islamic debt papers by foreigners appears to be reaching a plateau. According to analysts, the demand for Islamic bond papers from foreign investors in the last one year has pushed up prices and subsequently the yields have come down. Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Ratings Services foresees the global sukuk market heading towards a correction in 2015 after Bank Negara stopped issuing the bond earlier this year. Bank Negara’s move leaves the door open to issuers such as the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corp and the Islamic Development Bank to step up their issuance and provide the industry with liquidity, thereby contributing to the development of an Islamic yield curve.

RAM Ratings reaffirms Bank Muamalat ratings, RM400m Sukuk

RAM Rating Services has reaffirmed the A2/Stable/P1 financial institution ratings of Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd. The ratings agency had on Monday also reaffirmed the bank’s A3/Stable rating of its RM400mil Islamic subordinated Sukuk programme (2011/2026). The one-notch difference between the bank’s long-term financial institution rating and that of its subordinated Sukuk reflects the subordination of the debt facility to the bank’s unsecured obligations, it said. RAM Ratings said the bank’s asset-quality indicators had weakened during the period under review. Its gross impaired-financing (GIF) ratio had increased to 3.0% as at end-December 2014 (end-March 2014: 2.7%), with the largest upticks in home and personal financing.

Maxis issues first series of sukuk murabahah

Maxis Bhd has issued the first series of its sukuk murabahah of RM840mil in nominal value pursuant to its unrated sukuk murabahah programme. The tenure is for 10 years from the issue date. The country’s largest mobile phone operator plans to raise as much as RM5bil from a 30-year sukuk for its capital expenditure (capex) and debt refinancing. The company said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday that the unrated sukuk murabahah programme would be available 30 years from the date of the first issuance, which should be made within two years of approval. The issue price as well as coupon rate and yield to maturity of the Islamic bond will also be fixed prior to each issuance.

Maxis to raise RM5bil from 30-year sukuk

The country’s largest mobile phone operator, Maxis Bhd, is planning to raise as much as RM5bil from a 30-year sukuk for its capital expenditure (capex) and debt refinancing. The company said in a stock exchange filing that the unrated sukuk murabahah programme would be available 30 years from the date of the first issuance, which should be made within two years of approval. The issue price of the Islamic bond will also be fixed prior to each issuance. It added that the Islamic medium-term notes might be with or without periodic profit payments. The coupon rate and yield to maturity would also be fixed prior to each issuance of the sukuk. CIMB Investment Bank Bhd is the sole principal adviser and the sole lead arranger for the programme.

TH Plantations issues RM1bil sukuk to Tabung Haji

TH Plantations Bhd has issued RM1bil of sukuk murabahah to parent company Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH) to raise funds for its subsidiaries to repay their bridging loans. The RM1bil sukuk is part of the sukuk murabahah programme of up to RM1.2bil in nominal value set up by its unit, THP Suria Mekar Sdn Bhd, with LTH. RHB Investment Bank Bhd has been appointed as the principal adviser, lead arranger, facility agent and lead manager for the sukuk programme. In separate announcements, TH Plantations said it had appointed as directors LTH deputy group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Johan Abdullah, Datuk Md Yusop Omar and Datuk Shari Osman.

Alkhair Islamic Bank appoints new CEO

Alkhair Islamic Bank Bhd (AKIIB) has appointed Datuk Adissadikin Ali as its new chief executive office, succeeding Ikbal Daredia effective June 1, 2015. The bank said on Friday that Adissadikin would be responsible for the development of AKIIB, as it is the first Islamic bank in the country to conduce a full range of non-Malaysian ringgit banking activities. He will also oversee all aspects of AKIIB business in Malaysia and the surrounding regions. Meanwhile, it noted that Adissadikin has 15 years experience in the financial services sector which gave him wealth of management and leadership exposures in the industry.

Sukuk rise offers potentials in Muslim economies

The rise of sukuk, driven by the growing influence of investors who want syariah-compliant investment and savings products, opens new opportunities in Islamic economies, says HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd. In a statement, it said interest was strong in Gulf Cooperation Council member states as well as in growing economies such as Malaysia and Turkey. For those seeking finance, syariah-compliant debt offers access to the large pool of capital in oil-rich countries in the Middle East and South-East Asia. The bank said sukuk also had broad appeal, particularly in the Muslim world, where borrowers were attracted by the prospects of cross-border flows from the Gulf countries.

Indonesia hires managers for global sukuk launch

Indonesia has mandated four banks for its next global sukuk, which is expected to be denominated in US dollars. CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, Dubai Holdings Bhd, HSBC and JP Morgan have been hired as joint lead managers for the sukuk. Investor meetings will be held in London, the Middle East and Kuala Lumpur over the next two weeks. The issuance marks the sixth global sukuk for Indonesia. It last raised US$1.5bil in September, with a 10-year sukuk that drew over US$10bil in orders.

Moody’s assigns A3 to Malaysia Sovereign Sukuk’s debt notes

Moody's Investors Service has assigned definitive A3 senior unsecured ratings to the US dollar trust certificates issued by Malaysia Sovereign Sukuk Bhd, a special purpose vehicle established by the government. Moody's said on Wednesday its definitive ratings for these debt obligations confirmed the provisional ratings assigned on April 6. The A3 rating assigned to the sukuk is at the same level as the long-term local-currency and foreign-currency issuer ratings of the Government of Malaysia. The proceeds of the sukuk will be used by the issuer to invest in the purchase of an asset pool consisting of Ijara assets, the right to participate in the provision of transportation services in Malaysia, and Shariah-compliant commodities.

Maybank Islamic positive on new requirement

Maybank Islamic Bhd expects the bulk of its mudarabah deposit account holders to reclassify their accounts to mudarabah investment account (IA), in compliance with Bank Negara’s requirement. Chief executive officer Muzaffar Hisham said the 350,000 customers of the bank’s existing mudarabah deposit products had been given until May 31 to consent to either have their accounts reclassified as IA or other syariah-compliant deposit products. Some 70%-80% of the bank’s customers were expected to make the switch as the IA was a compliance requirement arising from the central bank’s Islamic Financial Services Act 2013.

New global sukuk issuance up to US$120b in 2015: RAM Ratings

RAM Rating Services expects new global sukuk issuance to remain fairly resilient in 2015 at around US$100bil to US$120bil when compared with 2014’s US$116.23bil. The rating agency said this was despite the challenging environment for Malaysia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) amid the steep fall in global oil prices since last year. RAM Ratings said geopolitical risks in the GCC, Europe’s quantitative-easing programme and the rate increase by the US Federal Reserve this year have compounded the uncertainties for GCC sukuk issuers and their potential investors. Perhaps the next leap for global sukuk will materialise when GCC sovereign wealth funds reallocate more of their portfolios to invest in sukuk from Asia, Europe, the US and other non-OIC nations.


S&P assigns A- to Malaysia Sovereign Sukuk’s trust certificates

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has assigned its preliminary 'A-' issue rating to the proposed US dollar-denominated Sukuk trust certificates to be issued by Malaysia Sovereign Sukuk Bhd. The ratings agency said Malaysia Sovereign Sukuk Bhd. is a special-purpose company incorporated in Malaysia for issuing sukuk trust certificates. Under this arrangement, the issuer will enter into an asset sale and purchase agreement for not less than 26% of the issued amount, a grant of rights to services agreement for no more than 26% of the issued amount, and Murabaha agreement agreement for not more than 48% of the issued amount with Malaysia.

AIA sees potential in family takaful

Life insurer AIA Bhd sees a huge growth opportunity in the family takaful business and investment-linked products in Malaysia, a market viewed by the industry as being relatively under-insured compared with its more developed neighbours. To tap into this growth opportunity, chief executive officer Bill Lisle said that the group, which is in the midst of completing its integration with ING Group’s domestic insurance operations, plans to employ more full-time agents and leverage on new technology. He added that the company would leverage on its Point of Sale (iPoS) technology driven by iPad.

Bank Islam-MBSB merger in the air

A plan is being floated on a “marriage” between Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB) and Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd. Sources say the idea of a merger between the two is being mooted at the shareholder level of both companies, namely the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH). A common factor the two companies have is Tan Sri Samsudin Osman, who is chairman of EPF and BIMB Holdings Bhd – Bank Islam’s listed parent company. BIMB wholly owns Bank Islam, which is its main income generator. Bankers say that if a merger is to take place, the EPF would be able to vote, unlike the situation in the failed merger with CIMB and RHB.

IILM set to re-issue 3 and 6-month sukuk

Malaysia-based International Islamic Liquidity Management Corp (IILM) will hold two auctions next week to issue a combined US$990mil (RM3.6bil) worth of sukuk, under a programme that is now authorised to issue US$3bil (RM10.9bil) in short-term paper. The IILM would auction US$490mil (RM1.8bil) worth of three-month sukuk and US$500mil of six-month sukuk on Tuesday. It is only the second time IILM has issued six-month paper. The IILM programme, rated A-1 by Standard and Poor’s, has US$1.85bil (RM6.7bil) worth of sukuk currently outstanding.

Kuwait Finance House CEO resigns

atuk Seri Abdul Hamidy Abdul Hafiz, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Kuwait Finance House (M) Bhd (KFH), has tendered his resignation. According to officials, the bank’s board had considered Hamidy’s request to resign. Pending approval by Bank Negara on the appointment of a new CEO, KFH said its board had appointed Datuk Mohamad Aslam Khan Gulam Hassan, who is currently the chief recovery officer, as the acting CEO, effective November 27. KFH also said it had appointed Mohammed Nasser Al Fouzan as chairman of the board of directors, effective November 26.

Turkiye Finans gets nod for 71 mln lira sukuk

Turkish Islamic lender Turkiye Finans has received regulatory approval to raise 71 million lira ($31.5 million) via sukuk. The Islamic bonds will be issued through TF Varlik Kiralama, a wholly-owned unit of Turkiye Finans, which last year set up a 100 million lira sukuk issuance programme. No time frame was given for the deal. The bank also plans to issue by year end $50 million worth of ringgit-denominated sukuk in Malaysia, a market which it first tapped in July. Separately, three Turkish state-run banks plan to launch their own Islamic units, moves which are expected to increase competition in the sector and raise operating costs for incumbents.

BHB still keen to buy stake in Bank Syariah Indonesia

BIMB Holdings Bhd (BHB), which owns Bank Islam Bhd, is still keen to acquire a stake or even have a management control in Bank Syariah Indonesia as part of its expansion plan. Its group managing director and chief executive officer Johan Abdullah said the talks were still at a preliminary stage, and there was still no material development. Due to the regulatory uncertainty in Indonesia, Johan said that the group would engage the Indonesian authorities before making any decision to acquire a stake in the bank. At the firm's EGM, shareholders gave their nod to the proposed dividend reinvestment plan (DRP) that would provide shareholders with the option to elect to reinvest in whole or in part of their cash dividend with the new ordinary shares of RM1 each in BHB.

Growth of Islamic insurance sector rebounding

Growth of takaful business is rebounding, fuelled by improved economic conditions across its core markets and increased underwriting needs from the broader Islamic banking sector, a study by Ernst & Young showed. In previous years, inefficiency and intense competition have limited the sector's expansion, and growth rates slowed around the turn of the decade. But driven largely by Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, the sector is expected to grow 14.4 percent this year. Key drivers of the recent upward trend include improving economic conditions and a revitalised Islamic banking industry generating assets for takaful operators to underwrite. The sector will also benefit from an upswing in banking penetration rates across its core markets.

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